GORD KIDD : LIFE & TIMES
Linda Heeps, dear friend and fellow Lion, decided I could use a bit of help promoting my music in Haliburton. Little did Linda or I realize what memory banks would be unlocked. What began as a trickle of information has literally turned into a flood of my past experiences. I became overwhelmed and just started writing. I felt compelled to share my personal adventures and journey's in a long and somewhat drawn out expose. It will be available on this web site for anyone who wants to step into my life. This personal tale of, art, music, song writing, book production, accident survivor, traveler, and amateur spiritual philosopher will, I hope, be welcomed and enjoyed by all who make this step. I am sure my wonderful daughter Angi and my granddaughter Mikayla will read over this story and will, perhaps, discover some things they did not know about "old dad and papa" and I am excited to think that my family yet to unfold - my great granddaughters or sons and beyond - will now have this access to their linage.
Angela Kidd & Mikayla Stoodley
I certainly wish I had such a journal from my great great grandfather Robert Kidd.
Robert refused to allow his picture to be taken unless he could wear a black shirt. This, of course, was unheard of in 1917 when this picture was taken. It was a time of white shirts only. As you can see he won out. I feel I inherited some of that stubbornness. Stories of lives lived are important to the generations to come and I wish I had known more about him and about Walter Kidd who lived “in the bush” near Apsley, Ontario.
Walter Kidd had 13 children and was known as a great hunter who was not above poaching to feed his family. Thankfully, he was never caught. Walter Kidd built the lectern for the church in Apsley and is honoured in Harcourt Ontario for his contribution to building the Harcourt Community center which burned down in 2014.
This biography naturally leads me to a reflection of who I am and the events and life happenings that have formed my life.
Art: There is a tale of why I suddenly stopped doing art when I had a "knack" for it from as early as I can remember. My childhood was one of extreme poverty. As a poor family of seven children, we learned to make our own entertainment and my pastime was drawing and doodling. My artistic flair was noticed by a teacher who encouraged my parents to provide me with lessons. My father, who at that time was quite ill, could only afford a few art lessons. The result was two oil paintings which won first prize for my age group at the Lakefield Fair.
My father died shortly after I produced these paintings leaving my mother a widow at age 30. I misread this as a response to my art and quickly put away my brushes and any thoughts of producing "art"
Music: First Band "The Growing Pains”
The 60’s were a time when I hit the wild and wacky stage of puberty. It was also a time when the airwaves were inundated with the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and a plethora of British bands. It was called "The British invasion". I didn't care what you called it, if you could look like one of these young invading Brits, hold an instrument, make a sound similar to "singing" you could get "girls"!
Anyone who could afford to do so ran out and bought shiny, new, glittering, drum kits, and guitars. Although there were those who actually knew how to play these "babe magnets", it really didn't matter. You only needed to know how to look the part and you were in". Perhaps this sounds a little simplistic but it was, nevertheless, true.
I was in no position to afford the hundreds of dollars needed to get me a sparkling magnet but I could afford the $14.00 microphone. I could holler and yell with the best of them so I became the lead singer for the Growing Pains
The Growing Pains was a band, not unlike the scores of bands suddenly formed in the mid-sixties in basements and garages, whose musical skills were, to say the least, a bit "unpolished".
However, my next band, “New Era” began to show a few signs of actually being able to perform. In the above picture, we are dressed in an outfit we certainly did not like. We had been hired the Conservative Party of Canada to play for a rally. They insisted we wear the blue and white. A writer from the Peterborough Examiner wrote of the concert "the band sounded more B.C. than P.C. This, for us, was a compliment for our rock and roll style.
We had added a lead guitarist, Mike O’Toole. This is not to say the original guitarist from the “Growing Pains”, Paul Pogue, was not up to the task. It simply meant Paul had gone to one of the other bands for any number of reasons. Some of the bands that we shifted between were The "Lakefield Sound Department" or short form (L.S.D.), The “Savage Cabbage”, “Changing Times”, and Mike's former band the “Arcade”. I mention Mike O’Toole as Mike and I were to form a friendship back in 1967 which to this day is still intact. We have played hundreds of venues, with the groups, “Michael & Gordon”, “Massebah”, and “Jack Hammer”. We recorded our original tunes and to this day we still talk about collaborating on songs we have penned together.
From the “New Era” there were a number of bands which never made it out of the basement. From the innocence of “The Growing Pains” at around age 15, through the more polish band “The New Era” age 17ish, I had become introduced to alcohol. The 60’s were also a time of drug experimentation. I found myself in a world of confusion. Suffice it to say that I was not one to be moderate. A number of episodes with the law and the courts took their toll and at age 18 I was in a lot of trouble. I recall I was walking by a neighbour who had been like a second mother to me and just by the way I was walking she could tell I had given up. The normal "cocky strut" was gone.
Then, entering my life was a precious soul, Dorothy Wingett, who asked if she could talk with me for ten minutes. She knew I had made a "life changing" decision and was praying for me. Dorothy introduced me to the teachings of Bahaullah and the Baha'i Faith.
This led to my introduction to the band “Geysir”, my association with a bandmate from Iceland called Gisli, and my four year with the band Geysir and the musical tour of service for the Baha'i Faith which took me to Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Luxenbourg, and finally Germany. There are so many life stories during those years that need more sharing than this space allows. My book, which I am currently penning, will show in more detail my transition from a street fighting, drunk, and drug abuser to a man on a mission to save the world. Geysir and the Baha'i Faith cannot be separated. My journeys and adventures through Iceland, Europe, and Scandinavia were, indeed, unbelievable. I have only one regret when I recall these times and that is the loss of my family.
I married in Iceland, a young and sweet girl. I say “girl” as she was 17 and I was 19. A song on the “Geysir” album "To My Little Lady” was written for my young wife. Suffice it to say, being married to a performer; travelling with a group of up to nine people, day in day out, for years; constantly being introduced as, "Gord's wife"; being separated from her loving mother and step father; and, having no education, took its toll. And, with the arrival of a new baby, the life of the travelling musician/performer came to end. Eventually so did this marriage. I do regret any hurts I caused at this time in my life.
The young Kidd family returned to Canada and took up residence in Lakefield, the old hometown where music had begun. Immediately took up with my friend Mike O'Toole who not only shared my musical interests, had a history with me from bands back in the 60's, but he too was a member of the Baha'i Faith. A rash of original songs began to take form. Soon Michael and Gordon were planning to play music. My wife saw travel and lonesomeness again would be her lot in life. How difficult it must have been for a young mother, who also was a Baha’i, to see her husband going off to save the world with his music and Baha’i teachings. How could she express her unhappiness as the teaching of the Faith was important. The music was a means of teaching. How could she not support her husband? This must have been so hard.
The truth is this man was being very selfish. He was engaged pursuing his own interests, which of course brought attention and applause, while a young wife and baby daughter were left behind. Oh, in my mind, I was doing what I was doing for what I felt was the greater good.
Serving the Faith by being a good, caring husband and diligent father may not be as "glorious" as the applause one gets from a stage. Serving the Faith by working daily on making your family strong and healthy; by encouraging your wife's education; and, by providing the security and education for your children will draw far more applause from any God we might worship than the fleeting accolades one may get from a stage. The marriage ended. The love did not.
More than ever I buried myself in music. During this time 1975/76, I played music as much as possible with Mike anywhere, anytime. Mike and I wrote some tunes which even today we talk about recording.
We met two other Baha’is who shared our interest in music and promoting the Baha’i Faith through music. “Massebah” was formed. Massebah recorded an album in 1978.
Writing. It was during this period I found I wanted to do something to express to my daughter how much I loved her and the Faith which I so desperately wanted to teach to everyone. I wanted my daughter to know all about the Faith as it seemed to be a reason we were not a family. Not true. The Faith recognizes the role of woman, education of woman as a priority, and the fundamental strength of a family as the foundation of a community. I had not understood much of my own religion. I decided to write a play and have my young daughter do the narration. It, of course, had music and performances by Baha'i children. This play received positive reinforcement from the Baha'i community as well as interest from a man involved with professional film productions I was asked if I had a manuscript. I entered a world of writing in a different form. Book and manuscripts were now my new interest.
Twinkle Patrol is the result of my desire to give my daughter a view of the Faith through the eyes of a world of bugs in a land called Flitterland. It is also a result of my trying to produce an animated film. The Twinkle Patrol started in 1982. It was published over 25 years later after being on the shelf. Now, instead of my young daughter Angi, it is dedicated to my darling granddaughter Mikayla. The Twinkle Patrol production is a tale in itself.
Somewhere along the line of romantic failures I made a vow. (God loves a vow). No sooner do you make it and boom; you get tested on the strength of your convictions.My vow was no more woman. I was going to live in my secluded castle on Mountain St.
I became obsessed with making my home look like the inside of a castle. I surrounded myself with full sized wizards coming out of stone walls. I painted a blue sky on the ceiling. Horses, tigers, hawks, wolves, and a variety of birds covered every inch of wall and ceiling of my Castle on Mountain St. I thought I would bury myself in writing tunes, maybe a short story or two, lots of painting in the house, but no more women.....and along came Kathryn.
Out of the blue, someone I had known for over 13 years, someone I had thought of as a dear friend suddenly appears, not as a trusted friend, not someone whom you have admired for over a decade. Kathryn materializes before my eyes as the most amazing magical person I have ever known. Her joy of life, her very real happiness, her love of all living things, her sincere caring for those less fortunate, her mission to save abandoned and mistreated animals, are just a few of the traits Kathryn brought into my life.
It can happen; just when you decide there will be no more magic,no more fantasy, real magic happened. That magic, the most wonderful soul I could have been blessed to meet became after our first date my wife. From date to marriage within 6 months.
Kathryn had no problem living in my castle, however; this was her home now as well as mine. We decided a change would be made in our "decorum". We left for a holiday for a week. My very skilled brother- in -law Tom, and his talented wife Rudy, transformed my castle into our home. You can see the transformation in the booklet these two made up and presented to us upon our return.
This part of my bio needs far more than a paragraph. You'll be able to read more about the accident that nearly ended my life and the alternate reality I experienced during my recovery. Grant it most of what I saw and heard would be because of the medication(s) that I was on to immobilize me. I had a broken neck and back which required me to be still prior to and after surgery. I do share what I saw in my drawings that I made shortly after my experience at St. Michael's Hospital. I was in a world of fear and confusion. I also was aware of another reality behind me if I were to turn. I also had a "spirit guide" who did not fit the insanity of the world in front of me. Just beyond the clear curtain was my world. The world that I know. The world I was in was on a freighter being shipped to Europe to be used for body parts. Behind me was another "forever" world. My young "spirit guide" was only a face floating in front of me with the most beautiful long shimmering black hair swirling as she moved. She held my hand and my side. Pain disappeared with her touch. She, without speaking, told me she was here to "help me over if I decided I wanted to do". I was for many days fighting between staying and leaving the curtain of my past life, and following my guide into some "infinite reality" or stay and try to break away from my guards and get through the clear curtain of a reality I had left.
This near fatal experience needs a lot more explaining. I'll elaborate more in the bio/book which will be posted to the web site soon.
Suffice it to say ‘Kidd Kountry’, “Main Stream Country”, “Jackhammer”, “Russell and Kidd”, the “50/50 Band” and today's “Gord Kidd & Friends #1 and #2” have kept me quite active musically in Haliburton County.
We playing often in Haliburton County and updated dates and time and pertinent information will be posted. Please keep your eye on this site.
What a pleasure to share my adventure as Kathryn and continue on our journey of life.